DUBLIN publican Charlie Chawke, gunned down during an armed robbery this week, was in a critical condition last night after doctors were forced to amputate his leg.

The 54-year-old millionaire businessman, who owns some of Dublin's best known pubs, lost more than 40 pints of blood since the shooting last Monday.

Doctors performed surgery yesterday morning in St Vincent's Hospital in Dublin.

Friends of the publican said that doctors were forced to amputate the limb from just below the hip in order to save his life.

A family friend described him as being "in a very bad way" and his family were remaining by his bedside in the hospital's intensive care unit.

Fianna Fáil Senator Eddie Bohan, a business associate of Chawke's, rushed back to Dublin from his party's Ard Fheis to join his friend's family, according to a report in the Sunday World.

Chawke was shot in the leg when two armed men held him up as he got into his car outside his pub, The Goat Inn, in Goatstown, south Dublin at lunchtime on Monday.